Some people believe that the US does not face a fiscal crisis. Reality suggests otherwise. It's going to get considerably worse before it gets better.,0,2515708.story

In a standoff with federal forest officials, Caltrans is proposing to abandon a popular, cliff-hanging highway in the San Gabriel Mountains because it is too expensive to maintain.

Caltrans' proposal to walk away from California Highway 39, enjoyed by an estimated 3 million people a year, comes as the state struggles to close a $9.2-billion budget shortfall.

To avoid closure, Caltrans is trying to persuade the U.S. Forest Service or Los Angeles County to take over the roadway, which runs 27 miles from the city of Azusa nearly to the crest of the San Gabriels. Neither agency wants it.